Create the ideal space for cooking up a storm
Often referred to as the ‘heart of the home’, the 21st century kitchen is so much more than what was once just a functional space to prepare meals.
Ok, yes we do still use the kitchen primarily for that reason (obviously), but it’s also become the hub of family life and a place to entertain guests.
So the question is, what ingredients do you need to rustle up a functional yet fashionable kitchen in your home? Check out our top tips below...
What to do, and what not to do...
People often underestimate how much counter space they need in their kitchen and then complain that there’s not enough room to prepare food. Avoid this problem by creating a kitchen that has an uninterrupted work surface.
Remember to allocate space for appliances including the microwave, kettle and toaster, plus any other utensils you like to leave on display like scales, kitchen roll holder, chopping board etc.
Finally, make sure that larger, static appliances – like a tall oven or a fridge freezer – are not positioned anywhere that will interrupt the flow of the work surface.
Keep your kitchen organised by storing your utensils, pots, pans, cutlery and crockery in order according to how often you use them.
Deep bottom drawers are a great option for large pots and pans, while a cutlery tray in a shallow top drawer is ideal for your everyday knives, forks, tablespoons and teaspoons!
Don’t be afraid to use wall-mounted shelves for additional storage space if you need to, and the oven can come in handy too for hiding baking trays and roasting tins.
For crockery, the rule is to slot not stack. Plates will be much easier to lift out when slotted horizontally than when there’s a big stack and you want the one that’s right at the bottom!
Yes ok, we’ve established that the kitchen is primarily a functional space used to prepare meals. But we also know it’s the ‘heart of the home’ – so accessories are a must!
Treat your kitchen with the same love and attention as you would in any other room and make it homely with things like photo frames, wall art and fresh flowers.
You can also include accessories that serve a purpose – things like clocks, pin boards and to-do lists are always popular in the kitchen.
Traffic flow through the kitchen can cause chaos when there are two or more people trying to prepare food or make a cuppa at the same time.
This is easily resolved by placing associated items together. For example, keep your tea, coffee and sugar near the kettle, your breadbin near the toaster, your olive oil near the stove and your tea towels near the sink!
There are lots of potential health and safety hazards found in the kitchen but most of them are easily avoided with a bit of common sense! Have a read...
Install a sufficient number of electric sockets at key points around the kitchen and make sure they are positioned at a safe distance away from the sink (or any other water outlet).
It’s good practice to have a fire extinguisher or fire blanket to hand in the kitchen for emergencies. You should also invest in a good extractor fan to keep the air clean and well ventilated in the kitchen.
Install anti-slip flooring to avoid any nasty accidents from inevitable spills and splashes. A well-anchored rug can help with this too.
Keep your knives stored at a safe height out of reach from children. You may also want to think about what cleaning products you’re keeping under the sink if your kids can access them.
Appliances that hide behind cabinet doors can help create a sense of flow throughout a kitchen, especially in an open-plan living space.
However, if you’ve chosen appliances that are there to make a statement (e.g. a trendy American-style double fridge-freezer or a country-inspired range oven) then don’t be afraid to show them off!
It’s the mundane dishwashers, washing machines and tumble dryers that are best kept concealed.
The type of table you pick for your kitchen can really change the feel of the room so do choose wisely.
Consider who will be using it – a large wooden dining table is the traditional choice for families who want to gather round and enjoy mealtimes together, while a tall breakfast bar is a more casual option for a contemporary feel
If your kitchen is on the smaller side, your best bet may be a folding table that can be stored away when it’s not in use.
If you have enough space, try and include an area in your kitchen that’s specifically intended for socialising and small talk.
People tend to gravitate towards the kitchen, whether it’s friends popping by for a brew or kids sitting down to do their homework. It’s important that they don’t invade your space and get in the way of your cooking.
An island unit is the ideal solution for this. Simply add a few stools and you’ll find people will automatically gather around it.